Housing Choice Voucher Program - Tenants
- Income limits are calculated for metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan counties in the United Sates and its territories using the Fair Market Rent (FMR) area definitions used in the Housing Choice Voucher program. They are based on HUD estimates of median family income, with adjustments for family size. Adjustments are also made for areas that have unusually high or low income to housing cost relationships.
- Housing Quality Standards Inspections
- Housing Quality Standards Guidelines
- Inspection Checklist
- Lead Based Paint Hazards
- Residential Mold Clean Up Guidelines
- Rent Reasonableness
- Landlord Issues and Concerns
This is the process that you are required to attend once you have been notified by Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority. When this occurs, you have reached the top of the waiting list and will be sent an appointment letter inviting you to attend a briefing at our office. The briefing will determine eligibility and explain the program obligations. You must attend this briefing to be eligible for assistance. If you fail to attend the briefing, it will result in automatic termination; your application will be removed from the waiting list. Attendance of the briefing does not guarantee a household will receive a voucher or assistance. If you are unable to attend, you must contact our office BEFORE the meeting to reschedule. Failure to attend will result in termination of your application. Briefings are held as group meetings, you must arrive on time or you will not be permitted to attend the briefing.
The average briefing will last approximately 90 minutes. Childcare facilities are not available on the premises; please plan to make proper arrangements. One adult household member should attend due to limited seating, we recommend the household member that applied as head of household on the application.
You are required to Bring the following items with you to the Briefing:
Completed Tenant Information Form (this is sent with the appointment letter). This form must be filled out completely and signed by all adult household members.
Copies (or originals and we will copy) of Social Security cards and birth certificates for ALL household members.
Documentation of income and assets (assets include but are not limited to bank accounts, life insurance policies, bonds, stocks, and real estate, etc.). All divorce decrees, child support information, and custody paperwork. Acceptance/registration paperwork for any college students in the household as well as a current financial aid report.
Social Security/SSI verification dated within the last 60 days. You may obtain this by calling 1-800-772-1213, on-line at www.ssa.gov or calling your local Social Security Office. We cannot accept copies of bank statements and Social Security checks as documentation.
income guidelines. Once qualified, the next stop will be an inspection of the unit. Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will make the proper arrangements to schedule an inspection.
Issuance of Voucher
After the briefing, all file information is verified to determine eligibility. Households must meet the income guidelines for eligibility. When determining income eligibility we use the gross (before taxes) income. All adult household members are subject to a criminal background check. Income guidelines are as follows:
1 person: 18,700
2 person: 21,350
3 person: 21,350
4 person: 21,350
5 person: 28,850
6 person: 18,700
If qualified, a housing voucher is issued. The voucher is only valid for 60 days. Once a voucher is issued, the household may begin their search for housing. The voucher is accompanied with an Estimated Housing Assistance form which estimates the amount of rent the household can pay, and the Request for Tenancy Approval (blue form) which must be completed by the landlord once a desired rental unit is obtained. Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority does not grant extensions, it is important for tenants to provide KMHA with the completed Request for Tenancy Approval form before the expiration of the voucher. Once the Request for Tenancy approval is received, KMHA will determine whether the rent qualifies within the household’s income guidelines. Once qualified, the next stop will be an inspection of the unit. Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will make the proper arrangements to schedule an inspection.
In some cases, the housing authority may deny assistance. Below are examples of a few reasons the assistance could be denied:
- Failure to provide requested information
- Households who owe money to Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority or any public housing authority. If the debt was repaid, you must submit proof of payment in full and that the debt was satisfied.
- Persons with charges of violent criminal activity (including domestic violence) and drug related activity in the past three years.
- Registered sex offenders are denied assistance for the duration of the registration period.
- Having a family member that has committed fraud to a federal housing program.
- Previous eviction for drug related criminal activity or serious lease violation.
- Engaging in abusive or violent behavior toward housing authority employees.
- Tenants or household members whose assistance was terminated due to violation of the program obligations are not eligible to reapply for assistance for one year, from the date of termination.
*Note – If you are determined to be ineligible for assistance, you will be notified by mail and given an opportunity to appeal the determination.
It is important for tenants to remember to take care when choosing a unit because the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) Contract will be issued for one year. During this year, tenants are not eligible to move. Tenants may not rent from relatives. Ownership of the unit will be verified by Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority before a contract is executed.
Once a unit has passed inspection, Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will issue both parties the mandatory information and the HAP contract is executed. Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority cannot begin a contract or pay rent on a tenant’s behalf until the unit has passed inspection. All paperwork is deemed complete when all parties have returned the necessary documentation. Payments are not issued until all paperwork is received.
The Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority offers the convenience of directly depositing Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) into bank accounts chosen by landlords, property owners and agents. This method of payment not only eliminates the need to make a trip to the bank, but it is an easy means of receiving the housing assistance payment quickly and safely. Payments are issued the first business day of each month, unless otherwise noted by Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority.
All changes in household income must be reported IN WRITING to Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority within 10 days, no exceptions. Income changes may also be reported by using the Income Change Form available on our website. When reporting employment, include the employer’s name, complete mailing address, contact person, and phone number. If you receive other sources of income other than employment, please explain. Once verified an adjustment may be made to the rent. A notice is sent to the tenant, and the landlord is notified of any changes.
Tenants who pay childcare to attend school or employment may be eligible for a childcare deduction. Please report the name, complete mailing address and phone number of the childcare provider in order for this expense to be verified. Households including elderly or disabled persons may be eligible for a medical deduction; any out-of-pocket medical expenses should also be reported.
Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will notify the tenant and landlord/ agent/ property owner of any changes in the Housing Assistance Payment. Increases and/ or decreases in tenant rent are effective on the first month following at least 30 days after notice. All increase/ decreases in rent Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will verify all increases/ decreases in rent.
Failure to report income is a violation of the program obligations and may result in termination of assistance. If the family does not report the changes in a timely manner, the family will have caused an unreasonable delay in the interim reexamination processing and the following guidelines will apply:
INCREASE IN TENANT RENT will be effective retroactive to the date it would have been effective had it been reported on a timely basis. The family will be liable for any overpaid housing assistance paid on their behalf.
DECREASE IN TENANT RENT will be effective on the first of the month following the month that the change was reported and verified.
CHANGES IN HOUSEHOLD COMPOSITION
To add to the household tenants must first submit a written request. Tenants are then sent a list of information needed to determine eligibility of person(s) to be added. The following is a list of information that will be requested:
- Any new potential household members will need to complete the Tenant Information Form
- Written consent from the Landlord granting permission to add to the household.
- Copy of Birth Certificate.
- Copy of Social Security card.
- Verification of income for person being added.
- Custody paperwork if adding children to the household.
In addition, Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will determine if any additions to the household will cause overcrowding. If the accommodations will be deemed over-crowed, permission to add to the household will not be granted. All adults requested to be added will be subject to a criminal background check before permission is granted.
All requested information must be received before Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority can authorize anyone to be added to the household. Allowing someone to move in before completing this procedure will result in unauthorized tenants in household and may result in termination of assistance.
Program participants are recertified each year. As a result of this process and in most cases, the rent portion will change at this time. The housing authority maintains a tracking system and the tenants are notified of the upcoming annual review approximately three months in advance. Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will mail the notice to the tenant and the landlord. It will be requested that the family complete paperwork and return it by a designated date.
As the paperwork is received back in the office, verifications are sent. These verifications include but are not limited to: employers and other income sources, agencies providing cash and non cash assistance, financial information, medical expenses, child care costs and enrollment in educational institutions.
As all verifications are received a complete review of the family file takes place and all information imputed to calculate the new rent portion. The results are sent to the tenant and the landlord. Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will make notification of these results at least 30 days prior to the date of the change.
In keeping with KMHA Administration Plan, office appointments are made with a percentage of program participants to assure quality. Should a recertification interview be scheduled it is required that the head of household, designated family member or representative with power of attorney attend. If it is necessary to reschedule, notification must be made at least 24 hours prior to the meeting time.
HUD regulations permit program participants to move with continued assistance to another unit within the PHA’s jurisdiction or to a unit outside the jurisdiction under Portability procedures. The regulations also allow each housing authority the discretion to develop policies to define limitations and restrictions. (KMHA Administration Plan)
A tenant may move to a different unit with assistance if the lease for the current home has ended because the housing authority or landlord has terminated the contract, the owner has breached housing authority guidelines or by family request.
The tenant is required to give a 30 day move notice to the current landlord and provide a copy to the Housing Authority so a move voucher can be issued. The housing authority is required to give the landlord a 30 day notice indicating when the last housing assistance payment will be made for the current home. Example, if the move notice is received anytime in June, payment will be made to the current landlord for July and in a new home, August 1. Moves are not allowed in the first year of a contract. It is understood that there are circumstances that warrant a premature change and these situations will be handled on a case by case basis with the tenant, home owner and housing authority all involved in the resolution.
The Housing Authority will deny permission to move if the family is currently in violation of program obligations, owes the housing authority money, is in noncompliance of the their lease or has moved within a twelve month period. Some circumstances that may provide an exception are:
- the family now needs accessible housing or reasonable accommodation for a family member
- domestic violence has occurred in the household
- relocation is necessary because of employment, health or education opportunities
At the time the notice to move is received a 60 day voucher will be issued to the family and a termination/compliance letter sent to the current landlord. The tenant must return the voucher paperwork to the housing authority and begin searching for a new home. Once the Housing Authority determines the family is eligible to move, a Request for Tenancy form will be sent to the family so the tenant can provide it to the new landlord. The information on this completed form will allow a rent calculation to be completed. If the unit works for the family, an inspection will be scheduled and once a unit passes inspection a contract will be completed.
Portability is the term used for the ability of a tenant to move out of the housing authority’s jurisdiction. Within the limitation of the regulations, a tenant has the right to receive voucher assistance anywhere in the United States. When a tenant requests to move outside the jurisdiction, contact is made with the designated housing authority. Approval for portability will depend on acceptance of the voucher or Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority’s ability to continue to pay at another housing authority. In addition, Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will not permit a tenant to “port” their voucher when:
- the family is in violation of program obligations
- the family owes the housing authority money
- the family has moved in violation of the lease
Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority will absorb incoming vouchers only as funding allows. The incoming voucher may be administered through KMHA with billing sent to the initial housing authority for the participants housing assistance.
- Comply with all program rules and regulations and all family obligations.
- Provide complete and accurate information to KMHA.
- Sign and submit consent forms for obtaining information.
- Find a suitable place to live that meets program standards.
- Attend all scheduled appointments.
- Allow KMHA to inspect the unit.
- Allow landlord to enter assisted unit to complete necessary repairs.
- Comply with terms of the lease with owner and HUD’s tenancy addendum.
- Pay rent on time and utilities your responsible for in service.
- Report maintenance problems in a timely manner.
- Not commit any serious or repeated violation of the lease.